'Embrace wind energy rather than let the vulture funds tap into it '
My week: Tommy Cooke
Published 18/05/2016 | 02:30
Things are ooking up at Tommy Cooke's upland farm nestled in the Slieveardagh hills on the Kilkenny/Tipperary border as he has just been granted planning permission for a wind farm project.
He is also looking towards the future after signing a new farm partnership agreement with his 20-year-old-son Adam
The only blot on the landscape is the milk price but then that's not unique it's universal among the dairy fraternity.
Tommy farms 180 owned and rented acres on the Slieveardagh hills which at its highest point is over 1,000ft above sea level. His herd of 100 New Zealand Friesians, who are producing 6,000 litres a head for Glanbia, have spectacular views of Callan and Urlingford.
He is delighted with the go-ahead for the wind farm - a planning permission which has taken over 15 years to achieve.
It's a five turbine energy facility shared between himself and two local farmer colleagues in a joint venture with Gaelectric.
Each turbine will produce 2.3 megawatts of energy for the national grid. The three farmers have both a rental and equity share in the venture which should be up and running by the end of the year.
Tommy first mooted the idea back in 2000 after doing a UCD course on developing new streams of income for rural Ireland.